I learned something today while eating my strawberry Yoplait yogurt. They both stemmed from seeing this warning on the side of the container: PROTECT WILDLIFE CRUSH CUP BEFORE DISPOSAL.
I’m all about doing the little things I can do to help. I snip apart 6-pack rings so fish and penguins don’t get caught in them. This seemed to fit into that same niche. So I thought, “What is the appropriate way to crush a yogurt cup?” I tried to do what I would do to an aluminum can—pinch in the sides a little and press firmly from the top. The result, while probably classified as “crushed” didn’t really seem like a great improvement on the previous uncrushed configuration.
At which point I thought I’d do what I do for 6-pack rings and cut down the side, which is what I did with the 2nd cup sitting in my trash can from yesterday.
And then I thought I should do some research. So I went to the second source of all knowledge: Google. (The first source of all knowledge is, of course, Wikipedia.)
Google informed me that the main animal I’m trying to save is the skunk. Apparently these pungent creatures cram their little heads into these delicious little yogurt cups and get stuck because they can’t pull their head back out again. Destroying the cup is intended to help save their necks, literally.
Yoplait already did something to help, without having to change their signature yogurt cup shape. There’s a little ridge around the bottom of the cups that apparently wasn’t in the original design. It’s a tiny little change that probably didn’t draw a lot of consumer attention. But what it does is give skunks (or any other yogurt-loving small-headed creatures) a foothold to pry the cups off their head when they get stuck.
I’ll probably go with the cutting down the side of the cup disposal technique from now on, since it seemed more effective than crushing it. I don’t think the resulting edge is sharp enough to cause injury and I’m pretty sure that there’s no way a critter could get stuck if the cup has a slice down the side.
And that’s the wildlife preservation lesson that I’m sharing with all you yogurt-loving readers. Save the skunks! Destroy your yogurt cups.